Downward Trend Continues for U.S. Automakers

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – July proved to be another rough month for American automakers as all three — Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — posted a drop in sales that was larger than what industry analysts predicted last week.

General Motors’ sales fell 15.4% to 226,107, with all four brands posting losses compared to July 2016. Buick sales dropped 30.5% to 15,966, led by the Encore with 6,488 sold. Cadillac sales totaled 11,227, a 21.7% fall, topped by the XT5 with 5,504. GMC sales were down 7.3% – the smallest decline among GM brands – to 47,412. Topping GMC sales was the Sierra pickup with 19,963 sold.

Chevrolet sales dropped to 151,502 in July, a 15.3% decline from last year. Leading sales for the brand was the Silverado with 45,966, followed by the Equinox with 23,524 and the Lordstown-built Cruze with 12,278, a 10.5% fall from July 2016.

At Ford Motor Co., sales were down 7.5% to 200,212 as the company’s fleet sales dropped 26.4% to 40,720. Retail sales were only slightly off last year’s pace, down 1% to 159,492.

For the Ford brand, sales totaled 191,337, a 7.7% decline. The F-series pickup truck line, whose sales rose 5.8% to 69,467, led the brand, followed by the Escape with 27,716. Among the Lincoln brand’s vehicles, the MKX topped the chart with 2,422 delivered. Overall, the luxury brand’s sales fell 2.5% to 8,875.

Fiat Chrysler sales fell 10% to 161,477 among its brands sold in the U.S., with all except the Ram Truck line and Alfa Romeo posting decreases. Ram’s sales totaled 44,090, 33 more than the same month a year ago. Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo’s sales rose to 1,225 from 43 with the introduction of two new models earlier this year.

Jeep remained the company’s top-selling brand with 69,351 vehicles sold, a 12% decrease, led by the Grand Cherokee, of which 19,024 hit the streets, up from 16,661 last year. Chrysler sales dropped 30% to 13,303, led by the Pacifica with 8,288 delivered. For Dodge, 31,264 cars and SUVs were sold in July, with the Caravan coming in as the top seller with 7,503 leaving showrooms. The Fiat brand posted an 18% drop in sales as 2,244 cars were sold.

In its monthly sales forecast, Edmunds projected GM to fall 10.8%, Ford 5% and FCA 7%. Kelley Blue Book, meanwhile, estimated a 9.1% decline for GM, a 6.2% drop for Ford and 6.9% for Fiat Chrysler.

“July is historically a strong month, but with disappointing sales and inventories still building, something needs to give,” said Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis for Edmunds, in the release. “A lot is riding on late-summer sales events to help move vehicles before 2018 models start arriving at dealer lots. Production slowdowns will help address some of the inventory issues, but consumers may be waiting for automakers to loosen the purse strings on incentives to get them to pull the trigger on making a purchase.”

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